Happy New Year! With the new year just starting, I thought it would be wise to talk about Loyalty Programs for 2018. When traveling, should you be loyal to one hotel chain, one airline company, or one credit card company? In my opinion, YES!!! If you can find the right loyalty program to join, you can save thousands on upgrades and free services throughout the year.
Hotel Rewards Programs
When choosing your Hotel Rewards Program, it’s smart to shop around and research which hotels are most appealing and convenient for you. A few questions to ask as you decide on a hotel rewards program:
- Which hotels, and partner hotels, are included in the program?
- What are the requirements for earning hotel points and being eligible for upgrades?
- When do the hotel points expire?
- What status is needed for access to the executive/concierge lounges?
Personally, my husband and I are Marriott Rewards members and we love it. As a Marriott rewards member, we have received free rooms, free room upgrades, free wifi, and free access to executive lounges (which includes free breakfast, afternoon tea, dinner, and alcoholic beverages). So even when Marriott may be slightly more expensive when compared to other hotels, we actually pay less by not having to pay for food or drinks during our stay.
Airlines Rewards Programs
2017 was the safest year on record for commercial passenger air travel. If this makes you excited to book airline tickets in 2018, make sure you are getting the most for your money by joining a frequent-flyer program. When researching frequent-flyer programs, there are a few factors to consider:
- What are the airline’s frequently traveled routes?
- What status is needed to access airport lounges
- How are the airlines miles calculated and when do they expire?
- Are the program status levels achievable?
- Who are the partner airlines?
I am a member of the Delta’s Sky Team, and I have been extremely happy with their frequent-flyer program. With Delta, I have taken free flights, I have been upgraded to first-class, and I have enjoyed free wifi and food in the Sky Team airport lounges. I plan to stay with Delta for my 2018 travels, because the extra perks of being in their frequent-flyer program makes my travel experience even more enjoyable.
Credit Card Rewards Programs
If you are going to use a credit card to pay for your travel in 2018 (airlines tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, etc…), make sure you have a credit card that rewards you for your purchases. There are hundreds of credit card reward programs, so my best advice is to research and find out which program works best for you. But I would like to share a few questions you should ask while researching:
- What are the cash back amounts on qualified purchases?
- Is there a partnership with a frequent-flyer program or hotel rewards program?
- Are there extra rewards for purchases made while traveling abroad?
- What are the credit card’s fraud and security measures?
Now for many reasons, I won’t share with you which credit card rewards program my husband and I utilize. However, we chose a rewards program that maximizes our cash back opportunities. When we travel, all flights, hotels, rental cars, food, etc… are made with our rewards credit card. So, at the end of the day, a portion of the money spent on our trip is returned to us through our cash back rewards.
With 2018 just beginning, now is the time to start signing-up for your loyalty programs of choice. With most programs, your status at end of this year will carry forward to ALL of next year. So start your 2018 travels in the right direction and make the most of it by being LOYAL!
For more information about Marriott Rewards: www.marriott.com/rewards
For more information about Delta Sky Team: www.delta.com
Which hotel rewards program do you belong to? Do you think it’s worth being loyal to one rewards program? Please comment below!